Life cycle of Chattonella marina (Raphidophyceae) inferred from analysis of microsatellite marker genotypes


  • Communicating editor: D. Honda

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Red tides of Chattonella spp. have caused continuous damage to Japanese aquaculture, however, the life cycle of this organism remains incompletely understood. To further investigate this matter, we assessed genotypes at 14 microsatellite markers in three varieties of Chattonella marina, viz., C. marina var. antiqua, C. marina var. marina, and C. marina var. ovata, to establish whether Chattonella undergoes asexual diploidization or sexual reproduction. After genotyping 287 strains of C. marina, all but one of these strains was shown to be heterozygous for at least some loci, and thus, in the diploid state, suggesting that Chattonella strains undergo sexual reproduction. In addition, we performed single-cell amplification on ‘small cells’ that are derived from vegetative cells under dark and low-nutrient conditions. The results indicated the existence of two types of small cells. The ‘Small cell Type 1’ was found to be heterozygous, genotypically equivalent to the vegetative cells, and is therefore diploid. These small cells may change to resting cells (cysts) directly. The ‘Small cell Type 2’ was homozygous at all analyzed loci, suggesting that these small cells are haploid and may be derived by meiosis. As fusion between small cells has previously been observed, the ‘Small cell Type 2’ may be the gamete of Chattonella. We present a construct of the full life cycle of Chattonella marina based on our own and previous results.